SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 205: “I Serve Pie”

“I grew up in a small rural community in Philadelphia, we were poor, and every year when the state fair was running, my mom entered pies in the baking competitions. That way we could afford to go to the fair because they waived the entry fee for anyone who enters events. We could not afford admission, so my mom baked. Who would have thought she would be baking award-winning pies?

I was a tinkerer as a kid, and my mom was way supportive of me. If I wanted to make a robot, she would give me the pots and pans, knowing that they would never be able to be used again after I had finished with them. But she thought it was more important to stimulate my imagination than to hold on to her kitchen ware.

I followed my imagination and went to a special effects make up school; my dream was to go into the movie industry. I thought the scary movie stuff was pretty cool.

In 1997 I moved to Los Angeles to start my career, it was not what I dreamed it would be.”

A brief history of pie maker Matty, who in honoring the baking traditions of his family tree, opened the Pie Hole in May 2011.

My mom always wanted to open a pie shop. I remember when I was a kid. My dad was dreaming about opening a sporting goods store. My mom’s response, great idea! We can sell pies!

Then there was the bike shop I considered starting after realizing that panting walls in the special effects houses was not exactly what I was intending on doing. And again, mom was into it. Great idea! We can sell pies!”

So in 2010, when Matty’s mom started thinking pie shop in what I am calling the “Pie Summit,” He lobbied, Great idea! We can sell pies?!”

And as an ambassador for reaching the masses with the flavor of buttery crust and home-grown ambiance, he had but one condition, “We have to open it in Los Angeles, there will be more interest here than in rural Philly, where there is a pie house or diner in every town.”

Matty and Sean take a second to clown around.

To Matty’s surprise, mom agreed, an agreement was settled and with the support of long time friend, now business partner Sean, the quest to create pie nirvana began.

Until now, I had no Idea the Pie Hole existed. There is no advertising, no branded labels at the grocery store, and heck! it is hidden in an isolated art district of downtown LA.

So credit to where credit is due. I sit here, with family and friends, eating our last forks of Chicken Pot comfort, in follow-up to a referral from 365 friend of day 155. Brook – “Somewhere Magical…Hopefully It Will Involve Faries.”

I’m glad I listened to her advice. The place is flexing with movement, yet there is no feeling of rush for service, feels more like being in mom’s warm kitchen on a cold winter day (although the Southern California April is no match for my reference).

Protein consumed, we move on to our dessert pies, and through the pleasure of dancing taste buds, Matty and I sit in having a living room style after dinner chat.

Yet as charming as the Pie Hole is, to review it is not the reason I am here. I am here because Brook has told me that Matty has a great perspective on life.

“What is important to me is being able to connect with people,” Matty’s core reason for the Pie Hole.

“Everyone say’s to follow your heart, and do what you want to do, and I am now just starting to understand that idea.

I was not happy at all following the movie career, but now I know why I am in Los Angeles, it has always been to open this store. I could not see it when I moved here, and now it is as clear as day.”

“So what advice do you have for all of us?” I request.

Without pause, “Step back and take a deep breath before you make any decisions. Everything happens for a reason…  And Rushing never seems to help any situation.”

As we are talking, countless friends (I purposefully do not call them customers) stop to tip their hats to Matty…

“Love the new Double Crust Apple (Grandma’s recipe)!”

“I’ve got an idea for your tee-shirts”

“This is my daughter I’ve been telling you about.”

I find myself in the center of conversation that is as random as living room talk. The expressions of appreciation are endless, and in family style, everyone politely interrupt our interview time.

Matty is the real deal, and the way he knows his guests and how they know him only proves of his sincerity. Nothing feels like an interruption, it’s more like becoming part of an extended family. I love this joint.

Matty, Rebecca and the ever changing list of daily specials.

“As a society, we need to look to our past more” Matty exposes as we resume our quite time.

His motives are heart-felt, “We all need to get in touch with our roots and honestly lean on them to make our decisions for the future.

“So I serve pie… it is one of the oldest foods, and in America it brings back memories.

I want everyone who comes in these doors to be happy, to have a moment of the past.”

For Matty, it is not about money, it’s about moment. He even works a day job as a machinist and has trusted the daily operations to loyal friends who share in his vision of community.

“In a way I am serving a piece of my family, and in that, the spirit of togetherness. That is why I do what I do.”

Thanks Matty! you have not only feed my appetite, you havfeeds my day.

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